Jesus Was A Small Group Leader
Now that we’ve taken six weeks to look at our most important communication—between us and God—we next want to look at our membership in a small group.

Not there yet?

By the time we’ve finished the next six weeks, I hope I will have convinced you that the life of the church exists within small communities.

If we use Jesus as an example (and why not? He’s the best example of everything right and good!), we can see that our faith walk is made to be shared with others.

Jesus chose 12.

These were common, ordinary men, probably on the young side, who were looking for a  Messiah and determined to follow Him wherever that might lead. They weren’t content to simply go to synagogue on the Sabbath and celebrate the feasts. They wanted all God had for them, and although they may have thought they made the choice to follow this itinerant rabbi, in truth He chose them. 

Yes. Even Judas who would later betray Him.

Because Jesus knew that He needed to leave us an example of how we will best accomplish His plans for us. In groups of close friends.

“These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Him (Matthew 10:2-4 NIV).”

This “Jesus life” is something that cannot be accomplished alone. To do so leaves half of His purpose completely out. What was His purpose? To reconcile people to God and people to people. He said the two greatest commandments were “to love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, and strength and to love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:37).”

No room for Lone Rangers.  This is a group activity.

“And it came about that for an entire year they met with the church, and taught considerable numbers; and the disciples were first called Christians at Antioch (Acts 11:23-26).”

The early church comprised Jewish believers in Yeshua as their long-awaited Messiah. Little by little, Gentiles heard the Gospel and believed. Together they formed small groups that met regularly to fellowship, worship, and study the scriptures.

But they still went to the Temple to join with their fellow Jews in worshipping God with their age-old traditions.

Hooked into the life of the Temple, they never thought of themselves as anything but Jewish. They weren’t trying to start a new religion. They simply wanted God’s chosen people to see and recognize the time of their visitation, turn to Jesus, and be saved.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9 KJV).”
Yet another reason for becoming a part of a small group is for encouragement. When we are fighting the enemy of our souls who wants nothing more than to destroy our walk and kill our faith, it can be very difficult. In fact, you most certainly will have more success together than alone.

James admonishes us to confess our sins to each other. Chris Morton calls it “articulating

what is wrong.” When you bring sin into the light, you can clearly see how evil it is, and those praying with you can rejoice over your cleansing. God gave us each other. We find a safe place to “let it all hang out” in a small group of like-minded believers.

Yet another reason is for sharing. While our culture today screams at us: “Get more stuff! Get more stuff!”, we need to recognize that God is our provider. We need to realize that it is not we, ourselves, who gain wealth, but God who enables us to acquire and enjoy things. When we share, it is because we know that all good things come from God’s warehouse, and there will always be enough to meet our needs. We need not grasp onto what God has given us. He will always give us more as we open our hands in generousity to others.

Sharing also involves making ourselves vulnerable in other ways, too. Sharing the depths of our souls promotes trust. We can also share our daily lives, not just at church, but “breaking bread from house to house” as the disciples did. Just remember that small groups do not replace corporate gathering, but enrich it.

“Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts (Acts 2:46 NIV).”
As we step into this next study of godly communication and authentic life, let’s make the commitment to include each other in our loving circle of friends.

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